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Back | Programme Area: Gender and Development, Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development, Social Policy and Development

Transformative Policies for Sustainable Development: What Does It Take?


Transformative Policies for Sustainable Development: What Does It Take?
Titled “Transforming our World”, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits UN Member States and the international development community to taking “the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path”. But what exactly does transformation mean in the context of the 2030 Agenda and, equally importantly, how can it be achieved?

The research behind the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, points to one overarching conclusion: To create transformative change, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has to address the root causes of inequitable and unsustainable outcomes. This means implementing policies and reforms that fundamentally change social institutions and relations to make them more inclusive and equitable, and that redistribute power and economic resources.

This will clearly not be achieved by pursuing business as usual. Innovative policy making and governance reform will be needed. This Brief presents four key characteristics of innovations that have driven transformative change: a universal and human rights-based approach; a new take on policy integration; social and environmental objectives put ahead of economic ones; and the empowered participation of all social actors in decision-making processes.

UNRISD Research and Policy Briefs aim to improve the quality of development dialogue. They situate the Institute’s research within wider social development debates, synthesize its findings and draw out issues for consideration in decision-making processes. They provide this information in a concise format that should be of use to policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 8 Aug 2017
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1811-0142
    From: UNRISD